You’ve heard the buzz about the “Salesforce Economy” and how it’s going gangbusters. You’ve read that research firm IDC predicts that 4.2 million new Salesforce jobs will be created by 2024. Thanks to the pandemic you’ve decided that your old job wasn’t for you and it’s time to switch careers into something more aligned with your life and values.
But how do you make the switch? Traditionally, a significant career change is fraught with major sacrifices in pay, seniority, and benefits. While this isn’t necessarily true for members of the Salesforce Ohana (their term for community), it doesn’t mean that you’ll be making high six figure incomes on day one. You will still have to put in the time and effort to learn the platform, gain experience, and then market yourself to be one of the successful Salesforce experts you read about online.
Candidates constantly ask us what steps to take to ensure they minimize their ramp up time and maximize their earning potential. So here are a few tips to help you launch yourself into a whole new universe.
1. Understand what Salesforce is (and what it isn’t)
Sure, big paychecks, flexible working conditions, tightknit communities, and free ongoing training all sound great but, if you don’t have some familiarity with or interest in the technology, the rest is just frills that will not create a viable career path.
If you have a mind wired for programming and technical development, it should be easy to pick up the cloud side of the platform. But you’ll also need something of a head for business to apply that technical know-how to real world problems that organizations face every day.
2. Test drive Salesforce
To truly ensure the leap into this new career is for you, take advantage of the extensive training modules available on Trailhead to test drive Salesforce and see if it’s a fit.
The modules are small groups of individual lessons, and groups of complimentary modules are called Trails. Platform related modules walk you through how to actually implement live functionality in a real Salesforce instance (known as a playground). To learn more about playgrounds and get started, check out this module.
3. Join the Ohana
Now that you feel comfortable with the Salesforce platform and understand some of the business applications of the technology, it’s time to join the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. This is essentially an exclusive social network for your new Salesforce family that focuses on networking and training to kickstart your career.
A prime benefit of being a Trailblazer for new users is the Trailblazer Mentorship Program, which gives you access to your own experienced, personal mentor that can assist you with career strategy, network building, and more.
With or without the Mentorship Program, the Trailblazer community at large and the specific community groups you choose to join will be foundational in helping you overcome obstacles, make valuable connections, and truly grow your skillset. So, jump in and make a few thousand new friends! And don’t forget to connect with them on LinkedIn as well!
4. Get Salesforce Experience
These next two steps can be interchangeable. A Salesforce Certification is pretty standard to start your career, but how do you start without any experience? Fear not! There are lots of non-profit and volunteer opportunities around to help you start getting some practical experience. Here’s where the Trailblazer community comes in. Groups like Volunteers for Nonprofits or local Nonprofit Groups can help you connect with opportunities in your hometown or ones looking for remote help across the country. Other sites that focus on connecting skilled talent with volunteer opportunities include: Catchafire, Taproot Foundation, and VolunteerMatch.
You can also gain more hands-on experience by applying to join the Salesforce Talent Alliance Fellowship program, building apps for friends and family, and by earning Badges and Superbadges on Trailhead. You can learn more about those here. All this experience and practice will give you the confidence you need to ace your first certification.
5. Get Certified
With some networking and volunteering under your belt, it’s time to get certified. As “the ultimate benchmark” for demonstrating your Salesforce expertise and hand-on experience, securing at least one of the 30+ certifications available (as of this writing) will be key to your long-term success.
Certification options include all products as well as many skill levels and industries so, you’ll want to ensure you focus on the path that’s right for you and this guide can help. Securing a certification is not a breeze by any means, but once you’ve put in the time and effort in the previous steps, you can feel confident in passing the exam.
Once you have experience and are officially certified, keep volunteering and engaging with the Trailblazer community to ensure you stay visible and that your skills remain sharp.
6. Get Your Dream Job
It’s finally time to start working to your ultimate goal:
A high paying job in the Salesforce ecosystem!
But how? While the community groups do present job openings, it’s always advisable to create a relationship with a reputable recruiter. (Reputable means that the recruiter doesn’t charge the candidate to help them find a job) Recruiters, like VALiNTRYtechnology, also have deep relationships with clients and can start filling jobs before they are even posted on the company’s website, indeed or LinkedIn.
These recruiters can also help you update and format both your resume and LinkedIn profile, help you prep and practice for the interview, and advise on what salary is realistic for the role. They can leverage their experience with the company to give you insight into its culture to help you decide if the job will be a good fit.
The key to a successful job search at this point is to stay focused and motivated. Whether it takes you six days or six weeks to see your first interviews or even job offers, once they start arriving, your Salesforce career will have truly begun.